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G.R. No.

148372
June 27, 2005
FACTS: Respondent Miclat was employed on a probationary basis as
marketing assistant by petitioner Clarion which is owned by Yutingco.
The EYCO Group of Companies of which CLARION formed part filed with the
SEC a Petition for the Declaration of Suspension of Payment, Formation and
Appointment of Rehabilitation Receiver/ Committee, Approval of
Rehabilitation Plan with Alternative Prayer for Liquidation and Dissolution of
Corporation. The SEC issued an Order approving the creation of an interim
receiver for the EYCO Group of Companies.
The Assistant Personnel Manager of CLARION informed Miclat by telephone
that her employment contract had been terminated. No reason was given for
the termination.
In her Position Paper filed before the labor arbiter, Miclat claimed that
assuming that her termination was necessary, the manner in which it was
carried out was illegal, no written notice thereof having been served on her,
and she merely learned of it only a day before it became effective.
On the other hand, petitioners claimed that they could not be faulted for
retrenching some of its employees including Miclat, they drawing attention to
the EYCO Group of Companies being placed under receivership, notice of
which was sent to its supervisors and rank and file employees via a
Memorandum.

The Labor arbiter found that Miclat was illegally dismissed and directed her
reinstatement. The NLRC affirmed the labor arbiters decision. The CA
sustained the resolutions of the NLRC; it also denied petitioners MR of the
decision.
HELD: WHEREFORE, the CA Decision, together (sustaining NLRC) is SET
ASIDE and another rendered declaring the legality of the dismissal of
respondent Miclat. Petitioners are ORDERED, however, to PAY her the
following in accordance with the foregoing discussions: nominal, separation
pay; and 13th month pay. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the SEC
Hearing Panel charged with the liquidation and dissolution of petitioner
corporation for inclusion, in the list of claims of its creditors, respondent
Miclats claims..
On Miclats termination:
According to P.D. No. 902-A, as amended, the appointment of a receiver or
management committee by the SEC presupposes a finding that, inter alia, a
company possesses sufficient property to cover all its debts but foresees the
impossibility of meeting them when they respectively fall due and there is
imminent danger of dissipation, loss, wastage or destruction of assets of other
properties or paralization of business operations.
However, ART. 283 of the Labor Code states:
CLOSURE OF ESTABLISHMENT AND REDUCTION OF PERSONNEL. The
employer may also terminate the employment of any employee due to the
installation of labor saving devices, redundancy,retrenchment to prevent
losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or
undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the

provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the worker and the
Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended
date thereof. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
CLARION [however] failed to comply with the notice requirement provided
for in Article 283 of the Labor Code.
Stated differently, Miclats termination is justified, because of financial
difficulties of the company, but failure to give the required notice by Clarion is
sufficient to entitle her to payment of 13th month pay, separation pay and
others.
**
With the appointment of a management receiver, all claims and proceedings
against CLARION, including labor claims, were deemed suspended during the
existence of the receivership. The labor arbiter, the NLRC, as well as the CA
should not have proceeded to resolve respondents complaint for illegal
dismissal and should instead have directed respondent to lodge her claim
before the then duly-appointed receiver of CLARION. To still require
respondent, however, at this time to refile her labor claim against CLARION
under the peculiar circumstances of the case that 8 years have lapsed since
her termination and that all the arguments and defenses of both parties were
already ventilated before the labor arbiter, NLRC and the CA; and that
CLARION is already in the course of liquidation this Court deems it most
expedient and advantageous for both parties that CLARIONs liability be
determined with finality, instead of still requiring respondent to lodge her
claim at this time before the liquidators of CLARION which would just entail a
mere reiteration of what has been already argued and pleaded. Furthermore, it

would be in the best interest of the other creditors of CLARION that claims
against the company be finally settled and determined so as to further
expedite the liquidation proceedings. For the lesser number of claims to be
proved, the sooner the claims of all creditors of CLARION are processed and
settled.
NOTES:
Sections 5 and 6 of P.D. 902-A (reorganization of the SEC with additional
powers and placing said agency under the administrative supervision of the
office of the president), as amended, read:
SEC. 5 In addition to the regulatory and adjudicative functions of THE
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION over corporations,
partnerships and other forms of associations registered with it as expressly
granted under existing laws and decrees, it shall have original and exclusive
jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving:
xxx
(d) Petitions of corporations, partnerships or associations declared in the state
of suspension of payments in cases where the corporation, partnership or
association possesses sufficient property to cover all debts but foresees the
impossibility of meeting them when they respectively fall due or in cases
where the corporation, partnership, association has no sufficient assets to
cover its liabilities, but is under the management of a Rehabilitation Receiver
or Management Committee created pursuant to this Decree.
SEC. 6. In order to effectively exercise such jurisdiction, the Commission shall
possess the following powers:

xxx
(c) To appoint one or more receivers of the property, real and personal, which
is the subject of the action pending before the Commission in accordance with
the provisions of the Rules of Court in such other cases whenever necessary in
order to preserve the rights of the parties-litigants and/or protect the interest
of the investing public and creditors: Provided, however, That the Commission
may in appropriate cases, appoint a rehabilitation receiver of corporations,
partnerships or other associations not supervised or regulated by other
government agencies who shall have, in addition to powers of the regular
receiver under the provisions of the Rules of Court, such functions and powers
as are provided for in the succeeding paragraph (d) hereof: x x x
(d) To create and appoint a management committee, board or body upon
petition or motu propio to undertake the management of corporations,
partnership or other associations not supervised or regulated by other
government agencies in appropriate cases when there is imminent danger of
dissipation, loss, wastage or destruction of assets or other properties or
paralization of business operations of such corporations or entities which may
be prejudicial to the interest of minority stockholders, parties-litigants of the
general public: x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied).

B.E. SAN DIEGO, INC.,


Petitioner,

G.R. No. 159230


Present:

NACHURA, J.,

versus -

BRION, Acting Chairperson,


VILLARAMA, JR.,

MENDOZA, and
SERENO, JJ.
Promulgated:
October 18, 2010

COURT OF APPEALS and


JOVITA MATIAS,
Respondents.
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
BRION, J.:
Petitioner B. E. San Diego, Inc. (B.E. San Diego) filed before the Court a
petition for review on certiorari[1] assailing the September 25, 2002 decision[2] of
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 50213. The CA decision reversed
the June 22, 1995 decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malabon, Branch
74, in Civil Case No. 1421-MN.[4] The RTC in turn granted the complaint for
recovery of possession[5] instituted by B. E. San Diego against private respondent
Jovita Matias (Matias).
THE FACTS
B.E. San Diego alleged that it is the registered owner of a parcel of land (subject
property) located in Hernandez Street, Catmon, Malabon, covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-134756 of the Register of Deeds of Caloocan, and
delineated as Lot No. 3, Block No. 13, with an area of 228 square meters. B. E.
San Diego claimed that Matias has been occupying the subject property for over a
year without its authority or consent. As both its oral and written demands to
vacate were left unheeded, B. E. San Diego filed acomplaint for the recovery of
possession of the subject property against Matias on March 15, 1990 before the
RTC.[6]
In her answer to the complaint, Matias alleged that she and her family have been
living on the subject property since the 1950s on the basis of a written permit

issued by the local government of Malabon in 1954. [7] Matias stated that she and
her family have introduced substantial improvements on the subject property and
have been regularly paying realty taxes thereon. She further claimed that she is a
legitimate beneficiary of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1517[8] and PD No. 2016,
[9]
which classified the subject property as part of the Urban Land Reform Zone
(ULRZ) and an Area for Priority Development (APD).
More importantly, she questioned B. E. San Diegos claim over the subject
property by pointing out that the title relied on by B. E. San Diego (TCT No. T134756) covers a property located in Barrio Tinajeros, Malabon, while the subject
property is actually located in Barrio Catmon, Malabon. Matias thus claimed that
the property she is occupying in Barrio Catmon is different from the property that
B. E. San Diego seeks to recover in the possessory action before the RTC.[10]
The RTC found no issue as to the identity of the property, ruling that the property
covered by B. E. San Diegos TCT No. T-134756, located in Barrio Tinajeros, is the
same property being occupied by Matias, located in Barrio Catmon. The RTC took
judicial notice of the fact that Barrio Catmon was previously part of Barrio
Tinajeros. It found that the Approved Subdivision Plan and tax declarations
showed that the subject property is located in Barrio Catmon, Malabon. The RTC
thus declared that B. E. San Diego sufficiently proved its right to recover
possession of the subject property on the basis of its TCT No. T-134756. As
opposed to B. E. San Diegos clear right, it found Matias claimed of possession
over the subject property as a long-time occupant and as a beneficiary of PD Nos.
1517 and 2016 unfounded.[11]
On appeal, the CA disagreed with the RTCs findings. It considered the discrepancy
in the location significant and declared that this should have prompted the RTC to
require an expert witness from the concerned government agency to explain the
matter. Since it was undisputed that Matias was in actual possession of the subject
property at the time of the filing of the complaint, the CA declared that her
possession should have been upheld under Article 538 of the Civil Code. [12] The
CA also upheld Matias possession based on PD Nos. 1517 and 2016. [13]
As its motion for reconsideration of the CAs judgment was denied, [14] B. E. San
Diego filed the present petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court.

THE PETITION FOR REVIEW ON CERTIORARI


B. E. San Diego contends that the CA erred in reversing the RTCs finding on the
sole basis of a discrepancy, which it claims has been explained and controverted by
the evidence it presented. It assails the CA decision for failing to consider the
following evidence which adequately show that the property covered by its TCT
No. T-134756 is the same property occupied by Matias:
a. TCT No. T-134756 issued in the name of B. E. San Diego, covering a
property delineated as Lot No. 3, Block No. 13;
b. Approved Subdivision Plan showing Lot No. 3, Block No. 3 is situated in
Barrio Catmon, Malabon;
c. Tax Declaration No. B-005-00296 issued in the name of B. E. San Diego,
referring to a property covered by TCT No. T-134756;
d. Testimonial evidence of B. E. San Diegos witness that the property
described in TCT No. T-134756 is the same property occupied by Matias;
and
e. Judicial notice taken by the RTC of Malabon, based on public and common
knowledge, that Barrio Catmon was previously part of Barrio Tinajeros,
Malabon.
B. E. San Diego also alleges that Matias is estopped from alleging that the property
she is occupying is different from the property covered by its TCT No. T134756. Matias previously moved to dismiss its complaint for recovery of
possession of the subject property (accion publiciana), raising res judicata as
ground.[15] She alleged that the accion publiciana[16] is barred by the judgment in an
earlier ejectment case,[17] as both involved the same parties, the same subject
matter, and the same cause of action. The ejectment case involved a parcel of land
covered by TCT No. T-134756, located at Hernandez Street, Barrio Catmon,
Malabon; Matias never questioned the identity and location of the property in that
case.[18] B. E. San Diego thus contends that Matias, by raising the ground of res
judicata, has impliedly admitted there is no difference in the subject matter of the
two actions and, thus, could no longer question the identity and location of the
subject property.

In controverting B. E. San Diegos petition, Matias relies on the same points that
the CA discussed in its decision.
THE COURTS RULING
The Court finds the petition meritorious.
From the errors raised in the petition, what emerges as a primary issue is
the identity of the subject matter of the case whether the subject property that
Matias occupies is the same as the property covered by B. E. San Diegos
title. Our reading of the records discloses that the two are one and the same.
B. E. San Diegos TCT No. T-134756 refers to a property located in Barrio
Tinajeros, Malabon, but the subject property sought to be recovered from Matias is
in Barrio Catmon, Malabon. In ruling for Matias, the CA declared that this
discrepancy should have been explained by an expert witness, which B. E. San
Diego failed to present.
The Court, however, does not find the testimony of an expert witness necessary to
explain the discrepancy. The RTC declared that the discrepancy arose from the fact
that Barrio Catmon was previously part of Barrio Tinajeros. The RTC has authority
to declare so because this is a matter subject of mandatory judicial notice. Section
1 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court [19] includes geographical divisions as among
matters that courts should take judicial notice of. Given that Barrio Tinajeros is
adjacent to Barrio Catmon,[20] we find it likely that, indeed, the two barrios
previously formed one geographical unit.
Even without considering judicial notice of the geographical divisions within a
political unit, sufficient evidence exists supporting the RTCs finding that the
subject property B. E. San Diego seeks to recover is the Barrio Catmon property in
Matias possession. TCT No. T-134756 identifies a property in Barrio Tinajeros as
Lot No. 3, Block No. 13. Although B. E. San Diegos tax declaration refers to a
property in Barrio Catmon, it nevertheless identifies it also as Lot No. 3, Block No.
13, covered by the same TCT No. T-134756.Indeed, both title and the tax
declaration share the same boundaries to identify the property. With this evidence,
the trial court judge can very well ascertain the facts to resolve the discrepancy,
and dispense with the need for the testimony of an expert witness.[21]

Additionally, we agree with B. E. San Diego that Matias can no longer question the
identity of the property it seeks to recover when she invoked res judicata as ground
to dismiss the accion publiciana that is the root of the present petition. An
allegation of res judicata necessarily constitutes an admission that the subject
matter of the pending suit (theaccion publiciana) is the same as that in a previous
one (the ejectment case).[22] That Matias never raised the discrepancy in the
location stated in B.E. San Diegos title and the actual location of the subject
property in the ejectment suit bars her now from raising the same. Thus, the issue
of identity of the subject matter of the case has been settled by Matias admission
and negates the defenses she raised against B. E. San Diegos complaint.
We then proceed to resolve the core issue of the accion publiciana who between
the parties is entitled possession of the subject property. Notably, the judgment in
the ejectment suit that B. E. San Diego previously filed against Matias is not
determinative of this issue and will not prejudice B. E. San Diegos claim. [23] While
there may be identity of parties and subject matter, there is no identity of cause of
action between the two cases; an action for ejectment and accion publiciana,
though both referring to the issue of possession, differ in the following manner:
First, forcible entry should be filed within one year from the unlawful
dispossession of the real property, while accion publiciana is filed a year
after the unlawful dispossession of the real property. Second, forcible
entry is concerned with the issue of the right to the physical
possession of the real property; in accion publiciana, what is subject
of litigation is the better right to possession over the real
property. Third, an action for forcible entry is filed in the municipal trial
court and is a summary action, while accion publiciana is a plenary
action in the RTC.[24]

B. E. San Diego anchors it right to possess based on its ownership of the subject
property, as evidenced by its title. Matias, on the other hand, relies on (1) the 1954
permit she secured from the local government of Malabon, (2) the Miscellaneous
Sales Application, (3) the tax declarations and realty tax payments she made
annually beginning 1974, (4) her standing as beneficiary of PD Nos. 1517 and
2016, and (5) her long possession of the subject property since 1954 up to the

present. Unfortunately for Matias, her evidence does not establish a better right of
possession over B. E. San Diegos ownership.
The settled doctrine in property law is that no title to register land in derogation of
that of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse
possession.[25] Even if the possession is coupled with payment of realty taxes, we
cannot apply in Matias case the rule that these acts combined constitute proof of
the possessors claim of title.[26]Despite her claim of possession since 1954, Matias
began paying realty taxes on the subject property only in 1974 when B. E. San
Diego filed an ejectment case against her husband/predecessor, Pedro Matias.
[27]
Considering these circumstances, we find Matias payment of realty taxes
suspect.
Matias cannot rely on the Miscellaneous Sales Application and the local
government permit issued in her favor; neither establishes a clear right in favor of
Matias over the subject property. A sales application, in the absence of approval by
the Bureau of Lands or the issuance of a sales patent, remains simply as an
application that does not vest title in the applicant. [28] The local government permit
contained only a statement of the local executive that the case between the local
government and B. E. San Diego was decided by a trial court in favor of the
former.[29]
The CA erroneously upheld Matias claim of possession based on PD Nos. 1517
and 2016. Matias is not a qualified beneficiary of these laws. The
tenants/occupants who have a right not to be evicted from urban lands does not
include those whose presence on the land is merely tolerated and without the
benefit of contract, those who enter the land by force or deceit, or those whose
possession is under litigation. [30] At the time of PD 1517s enactment, there was
already a pending ejectment suit between B. E. San Diego and Pedro Matias over
the subject property. Occupants of the land whose presence therein is devoid of any
legal authority, or those whose contracts of lease were already terminated or had
already expired, or whose possession is under litigation, are not considered tenants
under the [PD Nos. 1517].[31] The RTC correctly ruled that Matias cannot be
considered a legitimate tenant who can avail the benefits of these laws no matter
how long her possession of the subject property was.

WHEREFORE,
we GRANT the
petition
for
review
on certiorari,
and REVERSE the September 25, 2002 decision and May 20, 2003 resolution of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 50213. The June 22, 1995 decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Malabon in Civil Case No. 1421-MN
is REINSTATED. Costs against the respondent.